Oats are just the whizz kids of breakfast cereals and so try to eat a good few times a week over the winter months. Before I tell you about all the great health benefits of oats, I’m going to tell you about the key types of oats that you can buy.
I started my oat eating career by going down to the supermarket or health food store and buying a packet of standard oats, for example, Flahavens Oats. As I learn more about how oats are processed, I have now elevated to the un processed world of oat groats, which are less processed and thus contains more fibre and nutrients. Check these out:
- Oat groats: unflattened kernels that are good for using as a breakfast cereal or for stuffing (I always soak first)
- Steel-cut oats or oat bits: featuring a dense and chewy texture, they are produced by running the grain through steel blades that thinly slices them (I always soak first)
- Old-fashioned oats: have a flatter shape that is the result of their being steamed and then rolled (your standard variety).
- Quick-cooking oats: processed like old-fashioned oats, except they are cut finely before rolling
- Instant oatmeal: produced by partially cooking the grains and then rolling them very thin. Oftentimes, sugar, salt and other ingredients are added to make the finished product.
Phew… so at least you now know.
Now in terms of health, I’d be mad to include all of the benefits as I’d be here forever but just to let you know that oats are a great source of manganese and selenium which are both powerful anti-oxidants. In addition, oats have been linked to lowering blood cholesterol levels and heart disease prevention. In addition to their cholesterol lowering properties, oats also contain a specific anti-oxidant called avenanthramide which protects against free radical damage. The beta-glucans in oats also help to boost the immune system and stabilise blood sugar levels. OK enough…..
This recipe is a bit of a free for all. I’ll give you an example of what I did but feel free to use any nuts or seeds you like and any fruit you like. You can use ordinary milk, soy milk, rice milk or even oat milk if you are oat mad!
- 1 cup of oats (or 3/4 a cup of oat groats soaked over night in water or milk of your choice in the fridge )
- 1 small carton of blackberries
- 1 small handful of cashew nuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds
- A dash of cinnamon and nutmeg
- Place the oats in a saucepan and cover with a cup water or milk of your choice (if you are using soaked oats groats I usually just pour everything into the saucepan and add a little more liquid if I think its necessary). Bring to the boil over a medium heat.
- Meanwhile place the nuts and seeds on a dry pan or an oven tray and cover with a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. Keep on a medium heat for about 5 minutes - watch they don't burn!
- When the porridge is cooked, i.e.has soaked up all the water, remove from heat and stir in the blackberries very well.
- Pour into a bowl and sprinkle with the toasted nuts and seeds.
- Wheat free, sugar free, dairy free